Another COVID-19 outbreak declared at Toronto Western Hospital
Published Sunday, May 10, 2020 6:51AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 10, 2020 11:29AM EDT
Another COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Toronto Western Hospital, a spokesperson for the University Health Network (UHN) has confirmed to CP24.
The number of patients and staff affected by the new outbreak at the hospital, located near Bathurst and Dundas streets, has not been released.
Last week, officials confirmed that outbreaks had been declared in four separate wards at the hospital.
Gillian Howard, a spokesperson for UHN, told CP24 on Sunday that 83 staff members across the hospital network have tested positive for the virus but not all cases are currently active.
Last week, Howard said 19 patients at Toronto Western Hospital were infected with the virus but only 10 remain hospitalized.
That number does not include any possible patients impacted by the new outbreak, which occurred in Unit 9a, an area previously believed to be free of the virus.
The unit has now been closed to new admissions as a result of the outbreak.
The previous outbreaks impacted two COVID-19 specific areas and two other hospital units.
"We have five different wards that are involved with this current outbreak. They are all general internal medicine patients so currently there is no outbreak situation in the ICU, in our emergency room, or on any of the surgical floors or in our stroke unit," Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, who works at Toronto Western Hospital, told CP24 on Sunday.
As of last week, the hospital began testing all patients and staff for COVID-19 and Sharkawy said the new cases are likely a reflection of the increased testing.
"We have tended to test more broadly, more aggressively, both at UHN in general and here at this particular site here at Toronto Western Hospital, we believe more than any other hospital or institution across the country," he said.
"I believe that is actually a good thing. We've been able to identify cases early. We've been able to trace them. We've been able to then isolate them and provide dedicated care for them on COVID units."
He added that they are not currently experiencing any shortages of personal protective equipment.
"These outbreak situations and the newly identified cases particularly amongst our staff are not a reflection of a PPE shortage. We have an adequate supply right now for all of health care workers and all of our support staff and they are being reinforced regularly," Sharkawy said.
He said UHN is also taking steps to make sure staff are using PPE properly.
"We are providing a great deal of surveillance and care with respect to what we call spotting so that when someone is donning and doffing their protective equipment, there is somebody actively watching them, critiquing them, and ensuring that they are doing it the right way."